- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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Athletic directors don't last long when football and men's basketball struggle, and that appears to be what has happened to Lisa Love at Arizona State.
Love will be replaced as the Sun Devils athletic director by Steve Patterson, the school announced Wednesday. Patterson was hired in July as the athletic department's chief operating officer and managing director of the Sun Devil Sports Group.
The school's official release says Love "is leaving ASU to pursue other career opportunities." The Arizona Republic, however, reported that she was fired after meeting with school president Michael Crow on Tuesday.
Love was hired in April of 2005. While many of the the Sun Devils' nonrevenue sports have thrived, Love's big-name hires haven't, including Dennis Erickson for football and Herb Sendek for men's basketball. Love also had a contentious relationship with successful baseball coach Pat Murphy, who was fired in November of 2009 during an NCAA investigation. Further, the search for a replacement for Erickson, which eventually ended with Todd Graham's hiring away from Pittsburgh, was far from smooth.
Patterson's background is mostly in pro sports. He spent nearly a quarter of a century as an executive in the NFL with the Houston Texans, in the NBA with the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers, and in professional hockey with the Houston Aeros. Prior to joining ASU in July 2011, he was the president of Pro Sports Consulting.
Quotes from the press release:
"In his time at ASU Steve Patterson has shown a level of sports management expertise rarely seen at the college and university level," said President Michael M. Crow. "He is the ideal person to build on the foundation Lisa built and to take Sun Devil sports to the next level - to the highest level.
"I wish to thank Lisa for seven years of excellent service. During her tenure here ASU won seven national championships and the academic performance and graduation rates of our student-athletes improved dramatically."
"I'm excited that Dr. Crow gave me the opportunity to oversee Sun Devil Athletics," said Patterson. "We expect to have a program that consistently competes for Pac-12 championships, with athletes that graduate, connect and serve our community, and operate with integrity, discipline and respect. It's time for our men's basketball and football programs to compete for championships and perform at the same level as our successful spring sports."
More Patterson background from the release:
Steve Patterson has built championship professional teams and designed, financed, built and run stadiums and arenas. As General Manager of the Houston Rockets he built the 1994 NBA Championship team. Later, he successfully led the effort to bring the Houston Texans NFL team and Super Bowl XXXVIII to Houston, Texas. As President of the Portland Trail Blazers, The Rose Garden and Rose City Radio, Patterson refined his skills as a turnaround specialist, while garnering national recognition for his player acquisition skills player acquisition skills when he took over as the team's General Manager.
Patterson also served as the President, General Manager and Governor of the Houston Aeros hockey team. For his efforts he was named the 1995 winner of the Andy Mulligan Trophy as the IHL's Executive of the Year.
In addition to his roles with the Aeros, Patterson also acquired and served as President and Partner in Arena Operating Company, which managed and operated Compaq Center, Houston's home of the Rockets, Aeros and Comets.
Born and raised in Beaver Dam, WI. Patterson attended the University of Texas, graduating with honors earning a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration in 1980. He graduated from UT's Law School in 1984.
Oregon and Oregon State fans may not provide glowing recommendations for Patterson, whose tenure with the Portland Trail Blazers was stormy on multiple levels.